Ring Nebula

M57: The Ring Nebula in Lyra (NGC 6720)

Object type: Planetary Nebula
Distance from Earth: 4,000 light years
1200 parsecs
Distance across Nebula: 10 Astronomical Units

The Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula resembling a torus or ring. M57 is a fine object visible in small telescopes, but a large scope is needed to glimpse its 13th magnitude central star which is a white dwarf. The age of the nebula (and thus the death of the central star) is estimated at 5500 years.